Criminal defense attorneys Christine Morse and Toni White observed as their clients repeatedly returned to the criminal system. They knew that at least part of the problem was the design of the system itself; standard rehabilitation programs simply don’t work. The study of criminology shows that incarceration does little to deter crime. The recidivism rate for offenders in California is a staggering 67%.
They decided to take action. Based on knowledge gained from years of working with offenders, they drafted a curriculum based on a multi-faceted approach to address the causes of criminal behavior. Once drafted, Christine and Toni met with psychologists and researchers at Sacramento State University, seeking insight and evaluation.
The University immediately recognized the power of the curriculum, which included cognitive behavioral therapy, legal education, life-skills training, challenging physical activities, yoga, meditation, and career counseling.
The Ascend program is cutting edge. It addresses the root causes of criminal behavior, rather than trying to treat a symptom. The difference is profound. Ascend graduates enjoy a 75% success rate. Even the remaining 25% are demonstrating great progress in improving their life decisions. Many of our students attend college – those who do typically perform at a 3.5-4.0 grade point average – they take their opportunity very seriously.
To date, the lives of 125 career criminals have been deeply changed by Ascend – these students are leading law-abiding, productive and happy lives.
Ascend has more requests for enrollment than we can currently accommodate. Christine and Toni work tirelessly to continually expand the program. Our long-term goal is that Ascend serve every community across the United States, working to lower the rate of crime and helping people build positive lives.
This is where donations come in. As a 501 (C) (3) non-profit, Ascend relies on donations in order to reach as many students as possible. Our goal is to serve those who want to change their lives, and by doing so, improve the lives of their families and the community in which they live.